Are you planning a short-notice, small wedding or elopement?

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIOS ARE OPEN - Many couples don’t want to wait. They are planning to get married in the very near future, eloping, or rushing a small ceremony with their photographer, some close friends, and family but dispensing with or postponing the reception party. 

View WPJA photo stories from smaller weddings - WedElope | Choose love, not fear!

Snow Wolf Lodge, Pagosa Springs, CO Elopement Photo Story Award

A Piedra Canyon Overlook, Pagosa Springs, Colorado Destination elopement portrait of couple kissing

Pagosa Springs, CO Wedding Photographers | The groom kisses the bride during their first look at Piedra Canyon Overlook

Josh kisses Dani during their first look at Piedra Canyon Overlook.

Dani and Josh traveled from Indiana to Colorado so they could celebrate their February elopement in the winter wonderland that is the majestic San Juan mountain range. They were able to gather their close friends and family from around the country to kick off their epic elopement weekend just down the road from the town of Pagosa Springs, which is home to famed mineral hot spring pools.

Dani had never before been to Colorado, but Josh had assured her the mountain views were worth the trip. Josh’s sister Jillian works at the Snow Wolf Lodge, which hosted the party for the weekend and they had a chance to explore the area the day before by snowshoeing and relaxing at The Springs Resort and Spa.

They began prepping for the day in two separate cabins at this rural four-season retreat. After her mother helped her into her gown, they set off toward the Piedra Canyon for their first look. Except, this was no ordinary first look. Dani had decided she’d like to play a trick on Josh by substituting his brother in her place. It was quite a shock when Josh turned around to see Jacob instead of his bride, but it sure did make for a good laugh. Afterward, we brought Dani out for take-two, and he exclaimed how happy he was to finally see her. We took a few pictures at the canyon overlook before heading to the ceremony. 

When we arrived at Williams Creek Reservoir, everyone took a few minutes to put on their snowshoes. Have we mentioned how much snow there was?! You couldn’t walk anywhere without snowshoes, which we know because we tried and sunk waist-deep in several feet of snow. Dani and Josh’s ceremony went off without a hitch as guests trekked through the snow closer to the edge of the frozen reservoir. The sun was slipping away quickly and the golden light shone brightly on their small group. They huddled together for a family prayer, which brought many to tears. It was an intimate ceremony, during which no one held back the emotion of the moment, not their parents, not the wedding party nor Josh whose voice broke as he repeated his vows aloud. Dani quickly embraced him and they held each other close as they wrapped up the ceremony. Afterward, we took a few portraits as the sun cast its last light on the mountains, and then we took off to the lodge for the reception. 

Dani and Josh were lucky to have a fun-loving, tight-knit group who absolutely adored them and took turns recounting stories and toasting their best wishes to the newlyweds as they capped off one beautiful day.

CO Vacation Rental Event Wedding Venue Image from the Reading of personalized letters from friends and family

Pagosa Springs, Colorado Snow Wolf Lodge Wedding Pic | The bride and her mom share a laugh as they read through stories in a scrapbook

Dani and her mom share a laugh as they read through stories in a scrapbook personalized with letters from friends and family made by her bridesmaid Kelly.

San Juan National Forest SW Colorado Wedding Image of The groom wiping away tears as he reads letter

San Juan National Forest - Southwest Colorado Wedding Image | The groom wipes away tears as he reads letters

Josh wipes away tears as he reads personal letters written to him by friends and family.

Snow Wolf Lodge, CO Wedding Day Photography of Brides mother helping her into her gown

Snow Wolf Lodge, CO Wedding Day Photography | Brides mother helps her into her gown

Dani's mother helps her into her gown before heading to the first look.

Pagosa Springs Wedding Venue Photo from Snow Wolf Lodge of A bridesmaid embrace of the bride with tears of joy

Pagosa Springs Wedding Venue Photo - Snow Wolf Lodge | A bridesmaid embrace the bride with tears of joy

Dani's bridesmaids embrace her with tears of joy and excitement after seeing her in her gown for the first time.

Piedra Canyon Overlook, CO Winter Snow Wedding Picture from a first-look trick on the groom

Piedra Canyon Overlook, CO Winter Snow Wedding Picture | a first-look trick on the groom

Jacob, Josh's brother, dresses in the bride's white cloak after Dani decided she’d like to play a trick on the groom by substituting his brother in her place for the first look.

Colorado Winter Destination Elopement Picture of bridal party Watching funny video clips of a first look trick

Piedra Canyon Overlook Wedding Photography | The bride laughs after watching a video that showed the groom surprised to see his brother

Dani laughs after watching a video that showed Josh surprised to see his brother, Jacob, during the first look instead of his bride.

CO Outdoor Winter Wedding Ceremony Photo from a Private ceremony at Williams Creek Reservoir

Williams Creek Reservoir, Pagosa Springs, Colorado Wedding Pic | surrounded by close friends and family during a prayer

Dani and Josh are surrounded by close friends and family during a prayer at their ceremony at Williams Creek Reservoir.

Williams Creek Reservoir, Colorado Wedding Couple during a blue hour portrait session in the CO mountains

Williams Creek Reservoir - Colorado Wedding Couple Portrait | The couple pose for a blue hour portrait

Dani and Josh pose for a blue hour portrait following their elopement at Williams Creek Reservoir.